Feeding my family. How small scale farmers cope with climate change. Food security. Having enough food to eat throughout the year is important for all of us. This is known as food security . We all know how important it is to have a varied diet.
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Feeding my family How small scale farmers cope with climate change
Food security Having enough food to eat throughout the year is important for all of us. This is known as food security. We all know how important it is to have a varied diet. In the UK, there is plenty of food available. Most of us buy our food from the supermarket or local markets. In some parts of the world, some people do not have enough food to eat.
What food do we rely on? It is amazing, but we rely on just 20 different types of plants for all of our food. Maize, rice, wheat and potatoes are the most common food crops. There are many traditional food crops that only grow in a few places. It is dangerous to only rely on these few crops for all our food needs. Climate change could effect how well these foods grow.
Changing climates and food security With changing climates, farmers face many challenges Extreme cold Drought Warmer temperatures Unpredictable rains Extreme weather – hurricanes Floods Farmers (and plants) need to adapt to the new climates to ensure their crops grow well.
Climate change and onions in the UK In 2006, the UK had hot weather in July followed by heavy rains in August The onions were smaller and less of them grew well. There was an onion shortage. The onions were more expensive to buy. What would it be like if this happened to lots of different types of food? The UK (and Europe) may have to import more food so that there is enough available. http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/2006/12/07/100166/uk-onion-crop-down-55000-tonnes-on-2005.html
How can farmers increase food security? Grow a range of crops – if one dies another may survive the new climate. Grow local varieties of crops that are adapted to the local climate. Save seed from one harvest to plant the following year. Growing a range of crops that are suitable for a changing climate helps to make sure that food is in good supply.
Why choose local seed and plants? Non-traditional or high-yielding varieties of plant are bred to produce large amounts of the edible part e.g. fruit, potatoes or grains. Farmers can grow fewer plants to produce the same amount of food. These type of plants require a lot of water and fertiliser. This is expensive for the farmer but they get large crops in return. Monoculture – harvest of grain Local varieties of plant are adapted to the local climate. They will grow, even in extreme climates. They can help to provide food in a changing climate.
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